CalArtians at 2021 Outfest LA Film Festival

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Outfest LA Film Festival, the world’s foremost organization for promoting LGBTQ cinema, returns for its 39th edition after a nearly 18-month COVID hiatus. The 10-day festival’s program is packed with outdoor events in various venues throughout Los Angeles, and indoor film screenings for vaccinated attendees. Almost all films screened at the festival will also be available for virtual streaming, allowing guests the option to experience the festival from the comfort of their own homes. 

Among the more than 50 international films screening at this year’s Outfest is Death and Bowling, the directorial debut of trans filmmaker and CalArtian Lyle Kash (Film/Video MFA 19) executive produced by Rhys Ernst (Film/Video MFA 11). Lauded as a landmark in experimental and LGBTQ cinematic history, the hour-long film is a fictional meta-critique about transgender representation. More about the film from the Outfest website:

Made by and starring a multitude of trans individuals, this touching, quirky film starring Will Krisanda and Tracy Kowalski tells the story of two trans men who meet at the funeral of the captain of a Lesbian bowling league in Los Angeles. The film deftly explores death, desire, and grief as a milieu of trans experience, feeling, and poetics.

“This film was community-driven in the truest sense,” Kash was quoted in the official release. “In 2018 hundreds of artists responded to my call for transgender talent to work as cast and crew on this historic film. The majority of our cast included non-professional actors. I wrote the script, and then adapted the characters to the actors who inhabited the roles.”

The world premiere of Death and Bowling takes place Sunday, Aug. 15 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA), followed by virtual streaming available for 48 hours starting Monday, Aug. 16.

Fellow CalArtian Zackary Drucker (Art MFA 07) will also join this year’s Outfest as a featured guest in the fifth annual Trans and Non-Binary Summit, alongside Emmy-nominated writer and producer Our Lady J. 

Among Outfest’s Los Angeles venues is REDCAT, which will host the following screenings:

Saturday, Aug. 14

  • Rebel Dykes (2 pm PST): Documentary by Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams about a tight-knit group of artists and activists in London. Feature with Q&A.
  • We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (4:30 pm PST): In Jane Schoenbrun’s coming of age tale, a bored teenager becomes immersed in an online role-playing horror game. Feature with Q&A.
  • Socks on Fire (7:30 pm PST): The passing of a large Southern family’s matriarch devolves into a battle over her estate, including the filmmaker’s (Bo McGuire) aunt’s attempts to oust her gay brother. Feature with live drag performance emceed by McGuire.

Sunday, Aug. 15

  • Prognosis—Notes on Living (2 pm PST): Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist Debra Chasnoff confronts her stage-4 cancer diagnosis the way she always has: with her camera. Feature with Q&A.
  • Platinum Showcase (4:30 pm and 7:30 pm PST): Showcase of 14 short films.

Prognosis—Notes on Living director Kate Stilley Steiner (co-founder, Citizen Film) and the film’s composer Catherine Joy (founder, Joy Music House, & president, Alliance for Women Film Composers), who are participating in the Q&A, extend an invitation to the CalArts community to stop by an informal mixer at the Redwood Bar & Grill after REDCAT.

PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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24700 is CalArts‘ online space dedicated to sharing news and work of the larger CalArts community from around the world. The news site captures stories of the exploration of new forms and expressions in the arts by our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

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